To potty train Pazu, I had his crate and his playpen linked together. That's where he was the majority of the day while I was at work. I lined his playarea with pee pads and the outdoor area where he would eventually go potty with pee pads as well with a bit of his urine and poo to remind him. I would put treats and toys inside his crate with the door open - giving him the option to go and nestle there if he chose. And Mochi my bunny resided in the playpen next to him so they kept each other company. I didn't want him to develop separation anxiety if I was away at work and crated him too long, so I would drop in on him at lunch. I'd leave puzzles and kongs for him to figure out during the day. It was padded and comfortable. I also owned two fairly large stuffed animal dogs - bigger than he was at the time that I put right in front of his crate. The cute thing was that Pazu always chose to sleep between the two stuffed animal dogs in front of his crate and not in his crate, even though I had a towel that smelled like his littermates inside his crate. He potty trained to pee pads and eventually I removed them slowly and started putting gates on doors to limit his access. Now he has free roam of the apartment. I think Pazu gets hot sleeping so his favorite place to sleep is on the tile floor by the door. He won't even sleep in the bed with me. Thankfully Pazu is still neutral about the crate.
I believe that crate training is a very healthy and positive thing, when done correctly.
My first dog, Yuki, has never been crate trained. I had to watch him every second of the day when he was a puppy and always worried that he would get into something that would harm him or make him sick. Luckily, he was never the type to dig through garbage or eat everything that he found on the floor.
My new puppy, Ellie, was crate trained before I got her. I have to say, I was nervous because putting a dog in such a small space seemed kind of mean. Since she has been here, though, I am so grateful for the crate! We just bought her a bigger one last night, as she has outgrown her first puppy crate, and she loves having her own quiet place. She doesn't wander in on her own very often, but all I have to do is hold the door open and say "crate" and she bounds in with a big grin and sits patiently for her treats. It gives her a space to get away from the children and Yuki and it also ensures that she can't get into trouble while I'm busy. Even if you don't plan on keeping your pup in there often, it doesn't hurt to train him/her just in case you need it!
I absolutely believe in crates! I have at least 3 open at all times in my house and many times they have a dog in one. I also travel with my dogs in a crate.
I do believe that 9 hours might be too long for a pup and so a gated area with the crate open and pads down as Melissa suggested might be a good alternative.
I have a Vari Kennel Ultra (med,I believe it's 20X20)with the wire windows that is my fave but I also have extra large lab kennels so I can put food and water in when I know I'll be gone a long period of time.
even though they may look like a cage to my dogs....it's a comfy home.
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